October 17, 2014 by 45spin
Well it’s been awhile since my last post, and my only excuse is that I have been working non-stop on the store since July. And as a lot of you that have followed my progress through the beginning when I had purchased the building last December it’s been one wild ride. Starting with having to totally renovate this historic building that had been sitting empty and neglected for years it was truly an adventure all on it’s own. Once that major project was done we then had to make it into a real record store and get the doors open for business.
Now when one dreams about opening a record store it always begins and ends with people looking at music, talking about music and then maybe buying music in a very casual atmosphere with music playing non-stop. It’s all about music right?
Now, what I totally underestimated while I was having this unbelievable cool record store dream is that there is a whole bunch things that have to happen before you can even begin to have that experience. Things like, vendors, suppliers, payroll, state taxes, federal taxes, POS (point of sales) systems, inventory system, accounting packages, then accountant, legal contracts, then lawyer, banking, then banker, credit lines, more bankers, networking, promotion, social media, store fixtures, printing, bags, boxes, web site, music associations, Record Store Day approval, hiring & training staff, to name just a few of things that needed to be done.
And I think I can safely say I just might have everything done, that is until I find out what I don’t know yet which has been a lot of things as I am finding out. So besides having to do all of those “Work” things it really has been a blast, I actually spent most of today hanging out, talking about music, ringing up a few sales and listening to music. Just like the perfect dream that started this whole thing.
So here are a couple of observations about the record business I’ve had after being in business for a mere six weeks,
1.) Most of my customers buy vinyl records! Used vinyl is king because of the outrageous prices that some of the new releases & reissues command. Do record companies really need to charge $35.98 for latest Kiss reissues?
2.) Most of my new vinyl sales are for artists back catalog reissued albums, I sell some newly released albums but overall it is a very small percentage. When people come in wanting to fork over $20-35 dollars for a new album, they want an album that they will truly will like.
3.) My three big sellers in new album releases so far would be Atmosphere, Jenny Lewis and Ryan Adams. If I were to combine all of their sales together I will have sold more reissues of Led Zeppelin II than all of those new new album releases combined.
4.) Interesting thing about new releases is that when a new album is released most of my customers have already streamed it first and then if they really like it they might come in and buy it after they have played it for awhile. Not a lot of people heading to their local record store on Tuesday when all of the new releases come out as steaming has become the go to when checking out new music.
5.) Facebook has become one of the best ways to get people to connect with the store and to give it a real personality. Web sites however how good they are do not really engage customers they way that Facebook can. To do this well you need to realize that Facebook is not for selling but for just connecting with your customer.
6.) People come to record stores because they like to share their love of music with others. Ask somebody what they like to listen to and you have a friend for life. Community matters when it comes to music, from concerts, to blogs, to shared playlists. We all love to talk about music and it’s even better yet when its shared with someone who is just as passionate about it. That’s why records stores exist to become the hub of the local community they serve and to serve as a place to connect.
7.) Jazz is very much alive and well in the record community and those that collect Jazz are some of the most passionate collectors there are. Mingus, Coltrane, Parker, Davis those records are just as hot now as they were when they were first released.
8.) Great record stores find a way to help the local music scene grow. If you want to be “True Local Record Store” you need to truly support your local musicians.
9.) Local record stores do not really compete with each other but compete with downloading, streaming, Amazon and a whole bunch of other on-line competitors. The trick in saving the local record store is for the store to become a destination and not just a place to buy music as there are far easier ways for our customers to buy music that to come to a physical store. Record Store Day is a great step in making record stores a destination but it is just a start, we need need to do things that truly make us different in the minds of our customers.
I’ll leave you with a quote about record stores that Jeff Tweedy wrote for Record Store Day,
“My introduction to all this great music and to ‘the music business’ came from hanging around, and eventually, working at independent record stores. Nothing beats browsing in your favorite store, listening to music, finding something new or old that you’ve been searching for, all that. And without these stores, there’s just no way Wilco would still be around.”
Thanks for reading my post.